Monday, September 17, 2007

Message of the arrows

Over the past 2 years, I've had probably a half-dozen instances where I woke up in the middle of the night with this fear that God didn't exist, or if he did, he certainly could care less about me. The very first time it happened was during a particularly difficult time and it was a borderline panic attack as a jumble of thoughts bounced around my head. "Maybe God doesn't exist", "You are all alone, no one can help you.", "When you die all this will be meaningless, you wont even know that you ever existed, dieing now or in 30 years won't make any difference".

None of the episodes that followed were nearly as severe as that one and I believe a major reason for that is due to God revealing to me that my life lived in him is not to be lived out Religiously, but Relationally -- even the phrase 'relationship with Christ' that I often used (religiously) has taken on a new meaning. Still I have had a couple of recurrences. Even though they are pretty minor these days, I've started wondering what that is all about. I've prayed about it, and I've asked a couple of trusted friends what they thought, and all of them have helped me to think about what is going on. Even though the details of what my friends have suggested have been different, a general consensus is that God is working out something deep within me and I'm beginning to think that the issue is something that happened in my childhood. Something unresolved that has been buried in my subconscious for quite some time and has kept me from trusting Father.

I hesitate to give details of my childhood because someone might get the idea that my life as a child was all hell all the time, but it wasn't. I do have some wonderful memories of my childhood and of my family. But there was abuse in our home, and there is no way to sugar coat that reality. There is what you could call a defining moment in my memory that I still remember vividly to this day. I'll spare you the details, but after I had received a particularly severe punishment, I was crying out to God. I begged him to take me out of the family that I was in because I couldn't take it anymore. I was desperate, and in pain, and probably in need of medical care. I even gave God an ultimatum, "Please take me out of this family, or I won't believe in you any more." My prayer was met with silence, God didn't take me away to live with another family and, at 11 years old, I learned that I was on my own that day.

I think that if I'm brutally honest with myself, to this day, I don't ask God to do anything difficult out of fear of disappointment. Somewhere deep down, I don't think he would do (fill in the blank) for me. Who am I after all, just one of 6 billion on this planet.

I know that there aren't too many that read this blog, but if you've ever had to deal with anything like this, please drop me a line. Let me know how God worked it out with you. As for me and God, we are going to have a weekend alone soon and, just maybe, like Mack and his encounter at The Shack, I'll come away changed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Maybe I shouldn't be bothering to post this at all, but it was what was on my mind tonight because I was shown this video earlier this evening and I was honestly confused and conflicted about what they were trying to say with this skit. When it first started, it didn't make any sense to me at all. I didn't know what all the hand waving and puppetry was all about. Then I hated it when it portrayed Jesus as a bystander who was being pushed around by someone (Satan maybe?). But then there is the moment later in the skit where it looks like Jesus takes the girl's place, that was very touching to me. I don't know if the idea of substitution was what they actually intended, but that's how I took it.

Here's a comment off of youtube from an atheist's perspective:

I didn't think this was god related till I started to read comments... probably because I am an atheist and god is not a first thing on my mind... nevertheless, I really enjoyed the video. The performance was strong, acting beautiful and music made it very emotional... Speaking of music, does anybody know who sings this...?

I'm sure that there will be a wide range of opinions on this thing, but I really am interested in hearing what you have to say about it.

Update: If you too were wondering who sang the song, the band's name is LifeHouse.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm sick of your Religion, Religion, Religion!

"Why this frenzy of sacrifices?"
God's asking.
"Don't you think I've had my fill of burnt sacrifices,
rams and plump grain-fed calves?
Don't you think I've had my fill
of blood from bulls, lambs, and goats?
When you come before me,
whoever gave you the idea of acting like this,
Running here and there, doing this and that—
all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?

"Quit your worship charades.
I can't stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—
meetings, meetings, meetings—I can't stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
You've worn me out!
I'm sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance,
I'll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray,
I'll not be listening.
And do you know why? Because you've been tearing
people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up.
Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
so I don't have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.
Isaiah 1:11-17 (The Message)

I was talking to a friend yesterday who was telling me about a Sunday School debate that he was involved in where some in the class were arguing that God doesn't listen to us when we have unconfessed sin. Isaiah 1:15 was one of the proof text's that they were using to support this position.

Besides the fact that I personally think that it is hazardous to uncritically read the Old Testament without a good understand of the change that brought about by the Cross of Christ, I find it rather humorous that someone would use this particular passage to support such a claim. In context, what is God saying here? It looks to me like the people were in fact doing the confessing thing, and God was saying he's not going to listen to their confessions any more because it was just an insincere ritual. In reality this passage speaks against turning confession into a formula for getting your prayers answered. God doesn't play that game. "Come let us reason..." are the next words in this passage. God wants us to sit down and have a talk, because he knows that if we get to know him, it will begin to change us. Religious activities can't do that.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I need a laptop or something....

Every day that I go to work, I climb aboard a commuter bus that takes me from my suburban community to downtown Houston. I love this because it gives me about 40 minutes each way to read, think, listen to music, or a pod-cast. The only negative to this arrangement is that most of my musings are done on the bus, so I don't get to share those musings with any readers of my blog as often as I had hoped.

I mentioned to my wife that I should get a laptop so that I could write my thoughts down, to which she said, 'buy a notepad'. What? Me write? My hand cramps up just writing a check (which is rare these days). Oh, well, maybe I'll have to give her suggestion a try and see how it goes. But a laptop would be pretty cool...